Naked for National Nude Day!

I’ve missed it by a day but oh well, July 14th is National Nude Day in the US.  That’s cool, but don’t count on me expressing any desires to actually be nude in celebration or anything, cuz that won’t be happening…ever.  The date is interesting though because one year ago, nearly to the day, something happened that changed my life.

The summer was going as it usually does, kids home all day, husband home with us (both teachers on summer vacation) and various summery activities going on around me.  So the third week of July 2012 comes and that is when the life-changing event happened.  My husband took our two sons away for a week at Boy Scout Camp.  I love that week every summer when they all go to Boy Scout Camp.  It’s my favorite.  I have precious solitude and know I’ll get a lot of writing done.  House stays clean.  I don’t have to cook anything unless I want to eat.  I can swim in my pool without children splashing around in there.  I get to stay up late watching HBO and Showtime without worry that a kid will see what I’m watching.  *all the shows I like to watch are inappropriate for children*  Basically, I am a very happy woman alone with my free time.

I got right to work with a manuscript that needed some attention.  I wrote during the day and then in the evening I combed over online stock photo sights and looked for images that could potentially go onto my book cover.  On the second night of my domestic freedom, I found an image that changed everything.

The picture that inspired me.

The picture that inspired me.

It was a beautiful picture of a naked woman posing in an unconventional way but so perfect everything just clicked into place all in an instant.  A serendipitous moment.  I thought about the picture and what it would be like to be a nude model and meet the man who bought your portrait.  My first indie published book was born in that moment with just the seed of an idea and a picture.  Naked, The Blackstone Affair Book 1 was that story.  I sat down and wrote the opening chapter right then and had to set aside the other manuscript I was working on.  I wrote like a fiend for three weeks until it was done.  I couldn’t stop writing and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  The whole idea and story pretty much took over my life for the rest of the summer.

I was scared to self-publish Naked, because I had only written books for one small press publisher and knew next to nothing about how to go off independently all on my own.  But I was blessed with the wise words and helpful encouragement from a dear friend and fellow author, Belinda Boring, who got me to press ‘publish’ on KDP back in August of 2012.  What happened next was a whirlwind-roller-coaster–ride-of-crazy that didn’t really stop until after the holidays.  The books became bestsellers, landed me my super agent, and eventually a traditional publishing contract with Atria Books.  It’s all a blur to me now.  A crazy, scary, unbelievable blur with Christmas decorations and those little chocolate bottles with liqueur inside, mixed in. True story.

Naked went on to make the New York Times and so did its sequels, All In and Eyes Wide Open. Nobody was more surprised than I was, and nobody could have told me then, that one year later I would be a full time writer going to book signings and conventions with lovely people standing in line to meet me.  The whole concept is still bewildering and I imagine it will stay that way to some degree for the rest of my life.

The book that resulted.

The book that resulted.

So back to my original idea for this post–National Nude Day.  It was a good day for me to reflect on what inspired me to even write the book that changed my life in the first place.  A beautiful nude image.  Never give up on your dreams, you never know where they can lead.  Look where a naked picture took me!!!


xxoo R

Me and Jane Austen…Who knew?

So there’s this thing called a sales rank on Amazon that ranks your book’s sales against all the other kindle books being sold every minute, of every day.  Well I had absolutely NO CLUE about it until my dear friend, Belinda Boring, (check out her books, she is awesome) tells me in a Facebook chat one night:

Belinda: “Raine!  You’re a rockstar!  You’re on lists!”

Raine: “Come again?”  *has no idea what she is talking about*

Belinda:  “Your sales rank!  On Amazon!”  *geez, Raine really is naive*

Raine:  “Can you show me the link?  I never heard of it.”  *wonders what other things I am in the dark about*

Belinda:  “You have a 1600 ranking for Libertine.  Authors would kill for that rank.  You are selling a lot of books!”  *can she really be this dumb?*

Raine:  *does a Google search for ‘Amazon sales rank” and starts reading* Wow.  So I am selling some books.  *long pause*  Huh.  *another pause*  For realz?!  People are actually buying my book?  I really had NO idea!  *Belinda must think I am an idiot*

Belinda:  *thinks Raine is sweet, but a little slow on the uptake…good thing I love her*  YES!  You are selling a lot of books!

Raine:  Thank you for telling me, sweetie.  You are a great friend.  *thinks Belinda is amazingly smart and savvy*

…So this brings me to my picture.  Yes, there is such a thing as Amazon Bestseller Sales Rank and it updates every hour for books below 10,000.  You want your number to be small by the way.  And if you get into a low enough ranking for your genre category you get on the Top 100 List.  So yesterday I had a look (I really look like every hour now) and The Undoing of a Libertine was number 83 on the Top 100 Paid List and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was right beside it at 83 on the Top 100 Free List.  It was so pretty I could not resist the screen shot.  My book sitting on a bestseller list right beside hers.  Kinda surreal.   So here you go.

I am sure you are absolutely thrilled and amazed by this image, just like me.